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HOW TO START BLOGGING: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE [2020]

Blogging is a fun, rewarding, and often lucrative hobby. If you are passionate or knowledgeable about something, you can blog about it, gain fans and become an influencer. Moreover, it is one of the best ways to earn passive income. But how to start blogging? On this site we will take you step by step in your search for blogging success.

If you have been thinking about launching your own blog but have no idea where to start, read ahead to find out how you can start blogging today.

Nowadays, all kind of people and even business blog, most of the time professional with the intent of making money. You can, too, start your own blog. It does not require special computer or technical skills. Basic knowledge of using a computer and navigating the web is sufficient to start a blog.

Starting a blog refers to the setting up of a website, publishing content and getting it up and running. Starting a blog and maintaining a blog are two different things. This guide will explain the specifics of launching a blog. If you have been thinking about launching your own blog but have no idea where to start, read ahead to find out how you can start blogging today.

Questions? Ask them below in the comments!

#1 | PICK A TOPIC

The very first step in starting a blog is to choose a topic to blog about. It may seem easy enough, but many aspiring bloggers struggle with this part. The main problem here is that, if you have settled on a topic, chances are high that there are already a lot of other existing blogs about it. If you want your blog to be successful, you need to choose a unique topic. People won’t subscribe to your blog if there’s another, more established, blog writing about the same thing. What aspiring bloggers need to do here is to find a niche market.

A niche topic refers to a topic that is a specific set of readers are very interested in. For example, a blog about Star Wars lore attracts a particular type of audience. The blogger can easily capture this audience and market towards it. On the other hand, a generic blog about science fiction will have trouble attracting devoted followers.

It will take some time for you to find a niche audience. Start by choosing a topic that you are either very passionate or very knowledgeable about. You have to be willing to write about this topic for years to come. Then, browse the web for other blogs that may cover the same topic. You can then find out what aspects of the topic is writing about. Base your blog in that. When you write about something no one else is writing about, you are creating a market for yourself. If this is not possible, you can still choose a topic someone else is blogging about, but with a unique twist. The trick here is that your blog must offer something to readers that they cannot get anywhere else.

#2 | CHOOSE A PLATFORM

If you choose your topic, do spend some time researching content management systems (CMS). A CMS is a platform that allows you to create your blog, often for free. When you use a CMS, you won’t have to write code for your blog site from scratch. You can just download a theme and start designing your blog.

The most famous CMS you have probably heard of is WordPress, the ultimate platform ever for bloggers. WordPress is free, easy to use, does not require technical skills, and is highly specialized towards blogging. Do note we are talking about WordPress.org, WordPress.com is a separate blogging platform that is good as well but not what we refer to when we talk about WordPress.

WordPress is highly recommended for bloggers and will be the CMS we use in this guide, but there are other excellent alternatives as well, such as Joomla and Wix.

wordpress cms

#3 | FIND A HOSTING PROVIDER

In order to start blogging, you first need a reliable web hosting provider. Hosting is actually disk space on a web server. Here you save the text, images, videos and other elements of your website.

Unless you have hundreds or thousands or dollars to spend plus expert knowledge, you will need to rent a server through a web hosting provider.

HOSTING RECOMMENDATIONS

There are loads of web hosts out there. Not all are reputable. For bloggers, it’s recommended to use popular and well-known hosting companies like Hostgator and Bluehost.

Take note that you should pick a host depending on the level of support the company provides for the CMS you have chosen. Both Hostgator and Bluehost offer excellent support for popular blogging CMSs like WordPress and Joomla. In case you are going with a different provider, make sure similar support is offered.

OUR HOSTING PICK: HOSTGATOR

Based on our comparison of price, speed, reliability and service, we recommended using HostGator when you start blogging.

EXPLORE HOSTGATOR

In this guide we will explain how to set up your blog using HostGator. If you want to try a different hosting provider, we found this overview of the best hosting providers for WordPress helpful.

SETTING UP YOUR DOMAIN

In the case of HostGator there are different hosting packages to choose from.

hostgator shared hosting

Shared hosting means that your content is on the same server as other people’s websites. This is not as fast as dedicated hosting, but as long as you don’t have thousands of visitors per day, shared hosting is the way to go. As your blog grows, you can gradually upgrade to a better plan. But until then stick with a shared hosting plan.

At Hostgator, the most popular plan is the “Baby Plan,” but we would recommend that you go for your “Hatchling Plan” for your first site.

Hostgator’s plans come with unlimited storage and email addresses. They also offer a drag & drop website builder (also referred to as WYSIWYG, or What You See is What You Get) so that you can build your own site without the help of a web designer.

Once you have chosen, click on the ‘Register now’ button and follow the instructions on the screen.

#4 | FIND A GOOD DOMAIN NAME

When you sign up for a hosting plan, you will be required to provide a domain name to get your account online. The domain is the web address or your blog. When you use a CMS like WordPress.com, you can obtain a free directory on their domain.

However, we strongly recommend starting your blog on your own domain. Nowadays that is easy to do, not expensive, and requires no coding knowledge. In addition, it has the advantage that you are in full control of the design, code, and content of your website.

The domain name of your blog should include the name you have chosen for it. Be careful here, however. The domain is the main identity your blog will have on the internet. Therefore, it’s very, very important to get it right. Domain names should be simple and easy enough to remember. That means no dashes, numbers, or other symbols that are difficult to memorize. It should be concise as possible. It should also not sound like any other website as you could end up violating copyright laws.

Once you know your domain name, you should register it. You can do this with Hostgator as well. You will have to buy a plan for at least a year, but this does not cost a lot.

#5 | INSTALL WORDPRESS

You now own your own website! Now it’s time to take the next step towards starting your blog.

Open your e-mail and look for the welcome e-mail that Hostgator has sent you. You will see that there is a link to your cPanel (this is just an abbreviation for ‘Control Panel’). Use the specified username and password and log in to your cPanel.

Look for the “Quick Install” button and click on it. Then search for the “popular installations”, you will see that WordPress is at the top.

Click on “WordPress” and complete the form. You can change these details later, but it is important that you do not use the same username as your cPanel username (because two combinations of username and password are more secure than one). When you are finished, click on “Install Now”

#6 | SELECT A THEME

wordpress themes

Your blog shouldn’t look like any other blog on the internet. You should strive to make your blog as unique as possible. Start with the design.

CHOOSING A THEME

Now, you are ready to design your blog. First, you should choose a theme (web layout). You can use a free theme for your blog or purchase a “premium” one. In either case, you should customize the theme so that you blog looks unique. Hundreds of other sites would have used the same theme you chose. So you should do your best to make sure your site doesn’t look like dozens of others.

When choosing a theme, pick a layout optimized for blogs. You will also need a responsive theme. Reponsiveness refers to how easily your blog can load on devices with varying screen sizes. Mainly, only responsive websites load on smaller smartphone and tablet screens. Considering that more and more people are accessing the internet on their phones rather than computers, a responsive theme is absolutely necessary for your blog.

USER-CENTRIC DESIGN

When choosing the theme, always look at it from the reader’s perspective. Ask yourself questions like how easy is the theme is to view, does it prioritize posts over other components, or whether it’s cluttered with too many components that hinder seamless reading. Choose a minimalist theme, as these are high preferred by readers.

OUR THEME PICK: MONSTROID2

We have designed 10s of WordPress websites and we believe this high-quality theme is the easiest and most versatile option currently available. Highly recommended.

EXPLORE MONSTROID2

#7 | HOW TO START BLOGGING: CREATE CONTENT

Once the layout for the website is up, it’s time to start creating content. This refers to the blog posts you write, photos, and other content like infographics. In the beginning, you can experiment with the content you publish as long as it relates to the topic. Keep your target audience in mind. They are expecting high-quality, niche content, and you must deliver.

When writing articles, keep them short at 500 to 600 words in length to grab users’ attention. But you should also produce highly detailed longer articles 1,000 or more in length. Don’t limit posts to articles either. You should mix in infographics and videos as well if possible. Generally speaking, web users are visually oriented rather than textually. The nice looking a blog post is, the more likely people would click on it.

#8| ON-PAGE SEO

When designing your website, you must think about search engine optimization (SEO) tactics as well. SEO allows search engines to locate your site better for relevant queries. You can make your blog SEO friendly by using keywords in the title, domain and content; making the site speedier, and making the site responsive. We recommend the following plugins and tools:

  • Free SEO Plugins like Yoast or RankMath. These plugins will give useful recommendations in your WordPress backend on what to optimize in your pages and posts
  • All-in-One SEO suites like Semrush or Ahrefs. Relatively expensive tools but critical for successful online marketing

There are a number of other SEO tactics we will explain in a separate guide. You should learn about them and utilize them to your advantage.

SEO SUITE TIP: SEMRUSH

Any serious blog nowadays needs a good SEO suite to underpin their digital marketing efforts. Like the other premium tools Semrush is not cheap but it provides a lot of quality SEO tools that are really useful.

EXPLORE SEMRUSH

#9| SECURE YOUR BLOG

Before your site goes online, you should take steps to secure it from malware and cyber criminals. Install a virus scanner recommended by your CMS provider. This software tool will scan the source code of your blog for malicious scripts. A virus scanner for the blog is different from malware protection you get for your computer or the server. It’s a separate but necessary tool.

Be careful of the images and links you upload. Make sure you have sourced such material from highly reputable third parties. If possible, check them for possible malware as well.

An additional step to secure your blog include arranging an SSL certificate for your domain, which will encrypt all data going in and out of your site. Also, make sure all the passwords you use with the CMS are complex and hard to guess.

Lastly, make sure you use a plug-in that manages spam, like Akismet or Cleantalk. Without this you can get a lot of spam, e.g. via the user comments of your blog.

SECURITY TIP: CLEANTALK

Easy, cheap and effective anti-spam protection and a great alternative to Akismet which is often already installed by default.

EXPLORE CLEANTALK

TEST YOUR BLOG

Once you are done designing the site, it’s time to debug it. You can test previews of your site. But it’s best to get a beta version online initially. With a beta version, you can use feedback from users to fix issues common to new websites. You can easily ask friends or colleagues to test your site. It’s important to make sure that the final version is free of any major bugs. As your blog is new, you want to make a good impression on potential subscribers. If it’s buggy and lags, users will be less likely to stay on and subscribe.

#10 | FINALLY - START BLOGGING!

Once you are confident that the site is as perfect as it can get at this point, go online. Your hosting plan and CMS will have information on how to upload your site files onto a server and get it available on the internet. Go to the blog and browse to make sure everything is working fine.

The above steps refer to how to start blogging. And this is the easy part. Now you will have to do gain followers and subscribers. If you plan on monetizing using your blog, you will have to attract a considerable number of subscribers. There will be a lot of online marketing ahead. But that refers to whole another topic, which we will tackle in a following guide. To start your life as a blogger, take the above suggestion to heart.

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